Perfect Sautéed Broccoli! Learn how to cook broccoli in a skillet for an easy, delicious and healthy side dish.

Sauteed broccoli in a cast iron skillet with wooden spatula.

Broccoli is one of my go-to veggies when I need an easy side dish to go with our meals. I’ve shared my favorite Roasted Broccoli and Steamed Broccoli recipes, and today I’m sharing my easy method for making perfect crisp-tender sautéed broccoli.

This broccoli is simply seasoned with garlic and lemon and cooks quickly in a skillet on the stove. You’ll love the bright green color, fresh flavor and crisp texture. 

Serve this sautéed broccoli alongside your favorite proteins or toss it with pasta for an easy lunch or dinner. A sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese or sesame seeds make it extra irresistible. This good-for-you side is sure to become a favorite of yours, too!

Sautéed Broccoli Recipe Ingredients

Ingredients for sauteed broccoli recipe.

You’ll need just a few ingredients to make sautéed broccoli with stand-out flavor:

  • Broccoli: Of course! You’ll start with fresh broccoli crowns, and chop them into florets. Since frozen broccoli has a higher water content, it won’t give you the same crisp results as fresh.
  • Olive Oil: For sautéing the broccoli. I use extra virgin olive oil, but any olive oil will work.
  • Water: Adding a little bit of water to the pan helps to steam-cook the sautéed broccoli to make it tender. It’s hard to get broccoli tender from sautéing alone, without burning the edges.
  • Garlic: Fresh minced garlic adds flavor.
  • Salt & Pepper: I like to use sea salt or coarse Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Lemon Zest: To brighten up the flavors.

How to Make Sautéed Broccoli

A few simple steps will ensure that you get perfect, crave-worthy sautéed broccoli. You’ll need a large cast iron skillet or other heavy skillet and a lid to cover the skillet. It’s ok if the lid doesn’t fit exactly, as long as it covers the pan to trap the steam inside. 

  1. Cut the broccoli into florets. Then cut all but very small florets in half. Quarter any very large florets. You want all of the pieces to be approximately the same size so that they will cook evenly.
  2. Pat the broccoli florets dry to remove any remaining moisture.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  4. Add the broccoli to the hot pan and use kitchen tongs to arrange the broccoli pieces flat side down in the pan. This step increases the surface area of the broccoli that’s in contact with the pan, so you’ll get more browned, caramelized edges. Cook without stirring for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Then stir and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring the broccoli often. Cooking and stirring broccoli in cast iron skillet.
  6. Add the water and cover the pan. Cook for 2 minutes. The steam in the pan will finish cooking the broccoli. Lid on skillet with broccoli and water inside.
  7. Uncover the skillet and stir in the minced garlic. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
  8. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the salt, pepper and lemon zest. Then serve and enjoy!

Sauteed broccoli in a serving bowl with lemon wedges.

Serving Suggestions

You can serve the sautéed broccoli as is, or sprinkle on grated Parmesan cheese (my favorite!). For a spicy kick, add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.

This easy broccoli goes with just about everything! Try it with Baked Chicken Breast, Air Fryer Salmon, Baked Pork Chops or Chicken Parmesan.

Sauteed broccoli on a spoon held over bowl of broccoli.

More Favorite Broccoli Recipes

If you love this sauteed broccoli, try this Broccoli Stir Fry or one of these easy broccoli recipes next:

Sauteed broccoli in a serving bowl.

Grab a skillet, chop that broccoli and get this fresh and flavorful side dish cooking. Then watch those veggies disappear!

Sauteed broccoli in a cast iron skillet.
5 from 5 ratings

Sautéed Broccoli

Servings: 4 servings
Prep Time: 7 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
How to cook perfect crisp-tender Sautéed Broccoli. You'll love the bright green color and fresh flavors of this easy side dish!


  • 1 pound broccoli crowns
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse Kosher salt or sea salt, or to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • zest of 1 lemon


  • Cut the broccoli into florets. Then cut all but very small florets in half. Quarter any very large florets. Pat dry to remove any moisture on the broccoli.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large cast iron skillet or other heavy skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the broccoli to the pan. Use kitchen tongs to turn the pieces so that the flat sides are down against the bottom of the pan. Cook, without stirring, for 3-4 minutes.
  • Then stir the broccoli and continue to cook for 2 minutes, stirring often.
  • Pour in the water and immediately cover the pan. Cook for 2 minutes.
  • Uncover the pan and stir in the minced garlic. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat.
  • Sprinkle the salt, pepper and lemon zest over the broccoli. Stir to distribute. Serve immediately.
Calories: 88kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Sodium: 184mg, Potassium: 367mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 707IU, Vitamin C: 102mg, Calcium: 58mg, Iron: 1mg
Nutrition information is an estimate.
Cuisine: American
Course: Side Dish
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